London 2012: Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda wins men’s marathon to take gold
Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men’s marathon in the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012. PHOTO/Reuters
Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda rounded a corner late in the race and simply took off. A surprise surge from a surprise winner.
So swift and unexpected was his move that the runner from Uganda turned the last mile into a victory lap as he easily captured the Olympic marathon Sunday, along with the first medal for his country at the London Games.
Kiprotich finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 1 second, holding off the Kenyan duo of Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang. Kirui finished 26 seconds behind Kiprotich, while Kipsang, the leader much of the race, faded late but held on for bronze just ahead of American Meb Keflezighi.
On an extremely warm afternoon, the marathoners wound their way through a scenic route packed with swarms of fans. Kiprotich had such a big lead near the finish that he grabbed a flag from the stands and wore it on his way to the finish.
After finishing, he dropped to his knees, bowed and then raised his hands high over his head.
The Kenyans, who were looking at a possible podium sweep, just couldn’t keep up. Kirui and Kipsang were competing in memory of the late Sammy Wanjiru, who won the country’s first Olympic marathon crown four years ago in Beijing. Wanjiru died last year after a fall from a second-story balcony during a domestic dispute.
Kipsang, who was listed by his full name of Wilson Kiprotich Kipsang for the race, was seemingly in control early in the day. He was out front and running all alone, before fading back to the pack. Kirui caught up with him while Kiprotich followed just behind.
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